Life is like linen

Mixed media piece by Robyn Burns

I like my clothes better when they have a worn-in feel. It happens over time. When did my favourite t-shirt transform from bright and shapely, to a little baggy and faded?  The once crisp linen shirt softened as the fibres weaken, allowing it to sit more comfortably against my skin.

An old cotton or linen garment will have the signature scent of its wearer, which is why we instinctively hold the clothes of loved ones and babies close to our face and take a deep breath. Except for clothes made of polyester. The fibres, being plastic, never really wear out; just become shabby and stained. In old age, polyester clothes take on the smell of body odour from the sweat that they precipitate in the wearer, not the sophisticated scent that natural fibres do.

Many of us hold on to our decaying clothes with love, just like we hold the decaying bodies of our elderly loved ones, not wanting to face the inevitable. The quality of decay, essential to all life, is what I treasure in my clothes.  Once the collar becomes unwearably tattered, my shirt can be r.i.p.ped up for painting rags. (Not if it is polyester.)

Death, a part of life, to be embraced when the frayed ends no longer hold together.






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